samedi 28 août 2010

Alain's sister Lucie and her husband Nicolas wanted to get their eldest daughter Manon, who just turned 7, out of the house for a few days, so they suggested that we take her. (Along the lines of "Wouldn't you love to have her stay with you for an indefinite amount of time?" Um, can we really say no? I mean, sure!)

As she is working and he is redoing their kitchen, they wanted her out from underfoot (but that still left the 18 month old to watch over, which is apparently not easy when you are knocking down walls, but no way we were taking both. We can barely handle a 7 year old)

It was her birthday last week, so we bought her some pink rollerblades. Unfortunately, as she does not have two right feet, I had to take them back the next day and exchange them for one left and one right. Who knew?
Alain had suggested that maybe she would like the blue ones, but as he knows nothing about 7 year old girls' tastes, I overuled him and insisted on the pink. Good thing too. I also gave her a small purse that I got for free from Cacharel with a perfume purchase years ago, white with a red heart on a chain. She loved it and carried it everywhere. Alain had said "Don't give her that, she won't like it." Again, just wait until we have a daughter or three. (On a side note, we have been watching the series "Medium" with Patricia Arquette. I keep teasing him that he too will have three blond American daughters. His response? "After the second I'm outta here.")

They dropped her off on Sunday, and she spent three days with Alain here in the apartment. They went rollerblading, to the park, to the Vieux Port, for ice cream, for groceries, etc. He thought that he would be able to work a little bit while she was here, that she would color or read, but that didn't work out. I told him to take her out rollerblading in the morning for a few hours to wear her out so she would take a nap in the afternoon, but it was rather him that was worn out and wanted to take a nap. Seven-year olds are apparently untirable.

All in all it went okay. It seems to be the okay age when they are more or less self-sufficient and obediant, and before they get into the "I hate everyone and everything" stage around 13 or so.

We managed to put her to bed every night around 10. It was really weird to have a kid around. You mean, we can't watch our regular shoot-em-up police TV series? Whoops, didn't expect that love scene, quick, cover her eyes!

She really enjoys being with Alain and opened up to me as well. As I left for work before she got up and came home each night around 7/7:30, I didn't see her too much, but she kept wanting to play "pet shop" with me. Basically it involves choosing small figurines from her collection, moving them around and making them say stuff. I don't really know how to play such games anymore. I just sorta move them around aimlessly and then say "Oh gee, I have to go make dinner now."

She didn't want to go back so soon, but Alain really need to work on his thesis, so her dad came and picked her up after a few days. Apparently, Nicolas wasn't able to advance as much as he had hoped. Without Manon around to sorta watch over Anna, he ended up having to spend more time watching her than before. Manon enjoyed staying with us and wants to come back, which I am sure we will allow at some point. However, it is quite clear to us that it would be best to pass any and all exams before having a rugrat of our own.
lundi 16 août 2010
After our trip to San Remo, we had Wednesday, the 14th of July, off from work.
We were a little tired from our trip, but wanted to get out of the house a little bit.

As Alain had been pining over his lack of motorcycle for four whole days, and had been coveting all the motorcycles in Italy (Look Megan! It's an Aprillia 1000! Umm, okay dear.) he was itching to take it out for a spin.

I suggested that we go to my favorite overlook spot, near where I used to work.

I found this spot quite by accident.I used to have 2 hour lunches, which was too short to go back home in Marseille for lunch, yet too long for just sitting around thumb-twiddling. I joined a gym, and would go there several days a week, or else would just go to the mall and walk around (Auchan- how fun.) One day, I took my car and just kept wandering until I found this large park. I kept following the road up and up and up until I arrived at the top and wow! Great view of the surrounding area.

I would go up there about once a month, bring my lunch, and read a book. It helped me to clear my mind, to keep in mind that yes, one day I would find a job that I really liked, and to forget about all the frustrations of work.
So I suggested to Alain that we take his motorcycle and go up to the Outlook, then come back down and have a drink somewhere in the town of Gemenos. He agreed and we were off.

There were some people out enjoying the park and the summer with their families, but not too many. We road up to the top and took a few pictures.
We then headed back down, and found a small café. We went in and ordered some beers. It was a nice shaded terrace, not too crowded.

We spent a nice moment sitting there, then headed back to Marseille. We didn't go to see the fireworks. There are always way too many people down by the Vieux Port, and they always start several hours late anyway. As Alain had to work the next day, we decided not to go. I took the entire week off, and spent Thursday and Friday running yet more errands and straightening up the apartment a bit. The last few months I really went into a see-no-housework, must-pass-my-exams survival mode, and something had to be done.

All in all though, a pleasant 14th of July.
dimanche 15 août 2010
I guess it is time to come out of my hot-summer-days induced blogging daze and start posting again.

Alain and I went to San Remo, Italy for a long weekend early July. We left on Friday night (I had the day off from work and spent it doing laundry, preparing our stuff to take, and running errands). When Alain got home from work, we threw everything in the car and took off around 7 pm. I was worried that there would be a lot of traffic, but it wasn't too bad. Stopped for a sandwich before Nice, then got to San Remo around 10 pm. Hauled everything in, made up the bed, and fell asleep.

Boy was it hot! Alain always complains about the beds in their pied-à-terre, but I have found that I can sleep on pretty much anything. Must be the military school training. Seriously. I used to sleep curled up on the floor underneath my desk, just so the upperclassmen wouldn't look in my room and see me napping (not allowed).

We woke up the next morning, wandered over to the Saturday morning market (fake Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dior bags galore) bought some food, some shorts for him, a dress, shoes, and purse for me (why do you need more shoes and purses!?) . Then we headed back to the house. That was quite a bit of effort, and it was hot, so we took a nap. Then we went down to the beach, swam a little bit, then back to the house.

Had a very Italian meal of pasta, proscuitto, wine and tomatos.

After that long hard day, we went to sleep about 10 pm. Boy, vacations are hard!

Sunday was a bit rainy, yet still hot, and Alain decided he couldn't take it anymore. We had to buy a fan. We finally found one at a nearby store called Conad (I hate that name. It sounds like a mix between Con (french for idiot) and Gonad).

Took another nap Sunday afternoon, then went to the beach. It smelled funny (funny like sewage) and nobody was swimming. Hmm, I guess that is a sign.

On Monday, we went on our annual trip up into the mountains. We went to our favorite town, Triora, and had lunch at L'Erba Gatta, like every year. Walked around the town a bit, and went up to the cemetary.

When we got back to San Remo, Alain wasn't feeling well. He rested for awhile, and I walked around downtown. Bought a carton of icecream (his favorite thing in the whole wide world. well, maybe tied with spaghetti) and tried to cheer him up.

On Tuesday, he still wasn't feeling too well. We walked around a bit downtown by the Old Harbor. We were planning on leaving on Wednesday, but he was sick and tired and hot and I was just hot, so we decided to head back to Marseille. We went back to the house, packed and cleaned, and got on the road about 5 pm. Made it back to Marseille without a problem, unloaded, unpacked, and were happy to be home.

Some years when we go to San Remo we want to stay a few days more, and some years we leave sooner than expected. This was rather an off year. We didn't go roller blading, didn't go out for dinner, didn't spend much time at the beach.

I think we were both exhausted from the long year- me with my studies and he with his work.

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